Hi everyone. I've got a question. Last week I checked my sitar with a chromatic tuner and discovered some notes were way off, so I decided to correct them to the right pitch. This friday my teacher told that was a dumb thing to do since Indian music doesn't use the western way of pitches. Does anyone (on a chromatic tuner) how to tune a sitar? With this I mean: does anyone how much percent lower or higher certain notes should be? I guess this varies per raga.
Look under the post title "Basic Instruction, sitar" where PeterC gave detailed instructions on the best way to tune your sitar!! Use the tuner for the main strings and tune the taraf strings to each fret. You could align your frets using the tuner too. I tune my frets to the exact note but sometimes an adjustment (+ or -) is necessary so that it sounds right. I would use the tuner as a starting point and your ear as the final.
My two cents.... I agree with your teacher in that exact pitches are not necessary in Indian music. That is, forget about A=440 if you know what I mean. Your musical "ear" is the thing to work on developing. The only thing I need is to hear a C or C#, to which I then tune my second string. At that point, I tune all the other strings including tarbs, relative to that by ear. Yes, take a look at PeterC's post as he lays it out note by note.
What my teacher meant was that, say a Sa would be in tune with the western tuning but for instance the Ma would be slightly higher or lower (I'm not sure which notes she actually mentioned). The reason I want to be able to do it myself is that I live in Rotterdam while my teacher lives in Amsterdam: a 2 hour journey by train: total hell to travel with a sitar (though A LOT of people want to know what's in the case: you won't get bored during the travel ). My teacher has an extra sitar in Amsterdam for her students.
I think that your teacher has apoint,but you need to go with what sounds good to you. if you can aford to get another sitar, then buy it to tune which ever way you like & the one you have the way your teacher likes. if any of you would like to see the sitar I built, as wellas some instruments I restored go to sitarman.mainpage.net
Remco (Jan 19, 2002 04:37 p.m.): Hi everyone. I've got a question. Last week I checked my sitar with a chromatic tuner and discovered some notes were way off, so I decided to correct them to the right pitch. This friday my teacher told that was a dumb thing to do since Indian music doesn't use the western way of pitches. Does anyone (on a chromatic tuner) how to tune a sitar? With this I mean: does anyone how much percent lower or higher certain notes should be? I guess this varies per raga.
I agree, sitarsrule. Most people really into sitar will own at least two, don't have to be expensive. I play a tun wood tuned to C, the other a teak at C#. Very different playing characteristics. Remco, kind of sounds like your teacher has her own way of tuning, probably works best with the types of rags she plays. So, go with her teaching. Teachers and training are hard to come by as you probably know. I would have to drive for very many hours to find the closest one to me. Don't have passenger trains where I live.
We went to Atlanta for our first lessons both Sitar and Tabla. Our Guruji, Haresh Bakshi, tuned my sitar in about 5 minutes using only the electronic tanpura. He also moved 5 different frets just slightly, entirely by ear just fretting notes on the first string and listening to them against the electronic tanpura. I was astounded, just as PeterC said, to watch someone tune that is very good is incredible. I'd say I'm totally convinced to get away from the electronic tuner, maybe just the note Sa (7th Fret lst string) then all the rest from that.
Sitarsrule, I went to your website, got there but couldn't find any of your pictures, same with Robert's site? what am I doing wrong? anyway love to see your instruments.
The sites back up, The first pic You'll see Is Me playing the sitar I built from brokn pieces mounted on to a mahogony boby, sounds between a subahar & a sitar. I think you'll like some of the other pics. I made a trade .Itraded an old beat up set of tablas, for some very messed up sitars, which I made one into a tambora, the other a beginers sitar for my son. these projects were fun to say the less .........Peace